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The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939)

An ice skater jeopardizes her marriage when she becomes a movie star.

Director:

Reinhold Schünzel (as Reinhold Schunzel)

Writers:

Leonard Praskins (screen play), Florence Ryerson (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Crawford ... Mary McKay
James Stewart ... Larry Hall
Lew Ayres ... Eddie Burgess
Lewis Stone ... Douglas Tolliver Jr.
The International Ice Follies The International Ice Follies ... Ice Skating Troupe
Bess Ehrhardt ... Kitty Sherman
Roy Shipstad Roy Shipstad ... Roy Shipstad - Ice Follies Skater
Eddie Shipstad Eddie Shipstad ... Eddie Shipstad - Ice Follies Skater
Oscar Johnson Oscar Johnson ... Oscar Johnson - Ice Follies Skater
Lionel Stander ... Mort Hodges
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown ... Barney
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Storyline

Mary and Larry are are a modestly successful skating team. Shortly after their marriage, Mary gets a picture contract, while Larry is sitting at home, out of work. To prove that he can accomplish things on his own, he leaves Hollywood and convinces a former partner to put on an ice revue in Canada. The show is a huge success, but it makes it impossible for him to be with his wife, but the studio boss has a wonderful idea. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Bigger Than the Biggest Ziegfeld show-ON ICE! (Print ad- Binghamton Press, ((Binghamton, NY)) 25 March 1939) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ice Follies See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Crawford announced her impending divorce from Franchot Tone during this production. See more »

Goofs

Bess Ehrhardt is billed and introduced as 'Kitty Sherman', but an advertising placard in the movie uses her real name along with character names of some other actors. See more »

Quotes

Larry Hall: Stars are a million miles apart; they never touch. They live away from each other, cold and lonely - like we'll have to do.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mommie Dearest (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Comin' Thro' the Rye
(uncredited)
Traditional Scottish music
Words by Robert Burns (1782)
Played during an ice follies routine
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lew Ayres Polishes Its Rigid, Icy Surfaces
30 September 2006 | by GreensterSee all my reviews

I really like the Lew Ayres character in "Ice Follies of 1939." His hapless "Take-it-on-the-Chin" wisecracker adds needed dimension to an abbreviated screen play of the "Rags-to-Riches Coney Island" plot.

There are really no great "Lessons to live by" here, as we may find in other films of this ilk and during this period. Seems as though MGM had decided to film a skating show featuring performers who do not act, and to modify it with a fill-in plot centering around actors who do not skate.

Why not star resident beauty Joan Crawford with the up-and-coming James Stewart and young veteran actor Lew Ayres? - seems the reasoning of the moment. After all, she had done struggling performers in the past, and so a behind-the-scenes show within a show ought to prove right up her alley. Joan could then do at least one customary weeping scene, while James could add his token "Yippie!" routine, which seems mandated of his 1930's appearances.

"Ice Follies of 1939" may work a little more readily than it seems to do if its plot weren't as overdone as it were during its release decade. On top of this, it's abbreviated with one shortly-cut scene after another and practically devoid of plausible emotion in the process.

We rarely find Joan and James sharing the same train of thought here; when she is up, he is down. We don't know why these two care for each other, but Lew generally conveys his character's feelings through his bouncing around a room--most of them very small here, at least for him.

In at least two regards, "Ice Follies of 1939" seems dramatically incorrect: first in respect to the studio contract handed to Joan's character and response to her announcement one year later. The film proceeds from there, launching from black & white into Technicolor, which signifies that 1939 may have lasted longer than 12 months, according to this.

On a couple of additional positive notes, this film contains interesting figure skating routines by "The International Ice Follies" and, especially, its male solo skaters. Some of its cinematography during the sequences on ice proves outstanding, affording the film audience with reflections and contrasts. And, of course, Joan Crawford looks radiant throughout in appearance and fashionable wardrobe.


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